Jesus Cures All – Daily Message
October 21, 2020
1 Corinthians – my humble translation and things to ponder
I am completing 2020 with a 13-week journey discussing the writings of Paul – the man who wrote a significant portion of our New Testament.
As always, I will be providing my humble translation and some things to ponder.
1 Corinthians 4:1-21
4 Stewards of the Mysteries of God
1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.
4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
Fools for Christ’s Sake
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!
9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!
11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure;
13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
Paul’s Paternal Care
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.
15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you.
19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.
20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?
My Humble Translation: Although the main focus of the opening of Paul’s letter is Judgement; let’s not miss his opening title: “Stewards of the Mysteries of God.” If they were to be ‘faithful’ stewards of Christ they were to keep His message above all else. How could they have Christ’s message as they’re priority if they were spending all their time debating church leadership and calling out each other’s sins? They were never to judge one another; that is something that needs to remain between God and each of us.
‘Fools – All.’ Wow, that’s a tough pill to swallow. Here Paul, in verses 10-13, describes perfectly what the Christian life looked like in those times. They were dishonored, defamed, reviled and persecuted simply for spreading the Word of God. Yet, they were instructed that they were really distinguished and blessed and that their response was to be strong, endure and bless others. Thus, although they were perceived as fools for Christ, they needed to know that they were actually wise in following Christ and preaching the message of Christ.
Paul concludes, (what has been a somewhat harsh message) with paternal words of love and assurance that his warning needed to be listened to and that things needed to change.
He goes on to instruct them on exactly how they were to achieve this change by using two of the most powerful words ever written “imitate me.” Just as Christ had instructed His disciples, now Paul was instructing the Corinthians.
Ponder This: Isn’t it interesting that the early Christians in Corinth were already into bickering about church leadership and boasting about how they were better servants than someone else? Here we are over 2000 years later and nothing has changed.
“Fools – All.” Today, that certainly seems to be a more appropriate label for the vast majority of so-called Christians; those that portend to be Christians, but in name only.
Simply being a good person, going to church and calling oneself a Christian doesn’t come close to what God expects and what Jesus asked of us. If we are not spreading the Good News and therefore not being ridiculed and persecuted; then I suggest that we have not lived up to the command to ‘imitate me.’
One More Thought
I can bear witness to the power of God’s grace! I could take you to the church, to the section of seats in the church auditorium. I might even be able to find the very seat in which I was sitting when this grace found me. I was 56 years old and living with a concrete block of guilt that had made a mess of my life.
But then I heard a preacher describe the divine grace that is greater than sin. At the end of the message he asked if anyone would like to receive this grace. Iron chains couldn’t have held me back. Truth be told, chains had held me back. But mercy snapped the guilt chains and set me free.
I know this truth firsthand– Guilt frenzies the soul; grace calms it!
The benefit of being a great sinner is dependence upon a great grace!
Dear Lord, we boast only in You! Thank You, God, for being God the Son, Jesus. It is only by His sacrificial death that we are able to have a relationship with You. We are incapable of living a sinless life and following Your law, so we thank you for the Holy Spirit for guidance. But by the blood of Jesus, our lives are made clean, our past transgressions are wiped clean. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ mighty name, we are made pure and righteous. Amen.
© Credits: Alan Dupuis – with All the Glory to God